John Santoro's blog

It Costs $7,500 And It Just May Be Worth It

Any lover of B&W photography knows the look that only a film on paper photograph can give you. Yes, inkjet printers are getting very, very close to creating that look but now the limitation is the camera. The B&W images produced by even today's top-of-the-line DSLRs can leave you wanting to dig in your storage boxes and and pull out that old Nikkormat or FM2.

Now, however, there just may be a camera and lens combination that delivers the goods. It is the Leica M Monochrome and it sells for the equivalent of an Antarctic photo trip. Click on either photo below to read the full story in Tech Insider.

Is There An Advantage To Manual Focus?

There sure is. There is a way to set the focal length and focus of your prime lens so that everything between predetermined distance ranges will be in focus. Many photographers who learned their craft in the days of manual everything cameras know this technique as “hyper-focal focusing”. The technique works for all forms of photography and it’s especially useful in situations where the subjects are quickly changing as in event and street photography. The technique is simple and really works. Check out this feature by Tokyo-based photographer Lukasz Polka on how to do it.

The New HDR News Is Here!

Pinnacle Announces New Video Technology

We've been busy! We recently announced Ultra HDR™ IP cores and high dynamic range video capture technology. With the licensing of our HDR technology, we're porting our capture technology, proven in HDR Expose, HDR Express and 32 Float, to embedded solutions for HDR video capture.

Check out our

for the details. You can also get deep about our new video technology by visiting our UltraHDR Video website at or just click on the image.

Winter Sales Ends - Great HDR Continues

Our Winter 2016 Special just ended causing many photographers new to HDR to be on their way to making great photos. We were searching for some inspiring images today and found this nice one in the HDR section of Flickr by Jean Clavet. Click on the photo to go to his Flickr post.

Winter Special - Save $20!

Finalists Announced - Outdoor Photographer Of The Year

HDR and outdoor photographers alike, catch the announcement of the finalists in the Outdoor Photographer of the year award in the U.K. based news outlet The Telegraph. This year 12,000 entries were received from both professional and amateur photographers from around the world. The images from the finalists in the article are inspirational.

The Need for Speed (and quality) — HDR Photography for Real Estate

The Photography for Real Estate blog is the creation of Larry Lohrman and it focuses on the unique needs of fast-moving real estate photographers. Not to be confused with architectural photographers, real estate photographers shoot a lot - as many as six homes in a day. The goal is to make the property look great on websites and brochures and to do it fast. The client wants to sell that property as quickly as possible and the real estate photographer cannot be bogged down doing post production on photo files from six different locations. The photos have to be delivered now.

Speed isn't the only issue in real estate photography. Smoothly and rapidly managing the wide range of brightness in both interior and exterior scenes is critical. Interior scenes have to hold detail in both the bright windows and the interior shadows. For exterior scenes, the brightness levels range from bright sun to shady covered porches. This is mission critical HDR photography and there's just no time for lots of post processing.

Lohrman spent some quality time with HDR Express and he was impressed:


"(HDR Express) has an intuitive interface and a straight forward two step process of first choosing a tone mapping preset that sets the highlight/shadow values and then selecting a image style preset that controls the overall style of the image.

I tested HDR Express with a set of brackets from a bright red living room and fairly bright windows. I use this living room as a test case for HDR and Exposure Fusion processing because I originally found it was quite a challenge processing this set of brackets with Photomatix when I originally shot this room... I found with HDR Express, that on the first try I could very quickly get a...natural looking image."

John Omvik Says - Shoot With Manual Settings

In order to capture the dynamic range of an HDR scene you need to bracket several exposures. For the best results you must ensure, that with the exception of exposure times, little varies from frame to frame. The best way to do this is to lock your settings in manual mode.

Most modern cameras allow you to save custom user settings in the camera so that they are easy to recall when you need them. If you are serious about HDR photography it makes sense to dedicate one of these custom user settings for HDR.

Here is the list of settings I recommend.

HDR In Montana - by Night

We always like to see new work from pro Reed Hoffmann This is a particularly interesting use of HDR Expose 3 in a shooting situation at East Glacier Lodge, Montana that blends natural evening light with streetlights!

Here's Reed's perspective:

"Nikon D600, 24-120mm f/f Nikkor lens, three frames, 1/2 to 30-seconds, f/5, 400 ISO. I was teaching a workshop in Glacier National Park, and in the lawn of our lodge were two teepees. With the moon rising, and nice clouds, I went out to try an HDR of the scene. I had a flashlight to paint the teepee, but it wasn't necessary as the streetlights in the area did a nice job of adding some shadows and bringing detail out on the canvas. Shot on a tripod, I particularly liked the corona around the moon. White balance was set to daylight for the moon, and the warmth added by the streetlights gave the scene a nice feel.

You can see the workshops Reed currently has planned at

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